Vila Nova de Gaia (Gaia) is wrongly one of the most underestimated destinations in Portugal. Thanks to its geography – located on the south bank of Douro river -, tourists often visit Gaia just because of Porto.
It is a fact: the best view of Porto is offered in Gaia – in Morro garden – and then, there´s also the crossing experience of Dom Luís I, a double-deck marble arch bridge designed by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel.
However, Gaia is, definitely, a place everyone should visit for itself. As I had the chance to confirm last weekend, this city has its own attractions: to start, Gaia is one of the axis of the local wine industry, as it concentrates many of the cellars of Port wine at the local quay, which means it is the right place for the famous tastings.
On the other hand, Gaia has kms and kms of a sandy coast, offering some of the best beaches in the north of Portugal, ideal for surfing! The first day I arrived in Gaia, I took the local train and in 10 minutes I reached Miramar, a village known for its iconic chapel built in the beach. It is called ‘Senhor da Pedra’ and, truly, a place with an unique aura.
Gaia surprises: Haikus and Holiday Inn
Gaia is a pleasant city to walk. As I roamed around the city center, I discovered the highlight of this trip: in a square adjacent to the city hall, a tiles mural tells through draws and haikus the beautiful story of a camellia brought from Nagasaki, in Japan, to Gaia. Conceived by the japanese artist Jun Shirasu, this mural was, in fact, my favorite discovery: you know how I love to read and write haikus!
Gaia is a city to explore for a few days! During this trip I was lucky to be invited to stay at Holiday Inn Porto Gaia and would love to recommend you this fantastic hotel: it is perfectly located – 5 minutes walk to Gaia-Devesas train station and 5 minutes walk to João de Deus metro stop, which takes you directly to the downtown of Porto in 10 minutes.
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